From the Principal – Life as a new Dad

Fathers have always played an essential role in all of our lives.

My own father influenced my love of sport and camping whilst shaping my traits and personality.

St Joseph, as father of Jesus, protected him, defended him and loved him unconditionally. He demonstrated strength, guidance and wisdom.

In an apostolic letter titled Patris Corde (“With a Father’s Heart”, December 2020), Pope Francis describes St. Joseph’s fatherhood according to seven aspects: as a beloved father; as a tender and loving father; as an obedient father; as an accepting father; as a creatively courageous father; as a working father, and as a “father in the shadows.”

How would you describe your father (or male role model)? How are you as a father?

Life is personally busy in the life of a new Principal role.

It is more so when you have a two-year-old daughter.

The role of father has become the most important in my life.

It is hard to better the greeting a two-year-old gives you as you walk in the front door. “Dad, Dad!. The arms wrap around my legs and the words, “I love you” drift up from below.

Not many fathers get the opportunity to spend the first 9 weeks of their daughter’s life at home. The advantage of ‘lockdown’. I am sure the time feeding, changing nappies, reading books and providing cuddles has helped shape the wonderful relationship I have with my daughter today.

Time spent reading, kicking the ball and sharing a meal are highly valued and are enjoyable and cherished moments. The cries of “Park, park” lead to climbing, crawling, swinging and sliding and create laughter and joy between father and daughter. Our ‘chit chat’ conversation continues as we walk home, first on foot and then Dad carrying his little one on his shoulder for the final stages.

They say life is about life long learning. Having a child has resulted in new learning, new understanding. Becoming a father has also offered an opportunity to reacquaint myself with fun and enjoyable books, toys, games and songs as I teach, guide and entertain my daughter.

St Joseph is a wonderful role model for all Father’s; a giving and loving person who is courageous and accepting in his responsibility for Jesus.

It is my hope that the values exhibited by St Joseph can guide me in showing unconditional love to my child by being attentive and compassionate.

Best wishes to all the fathers in our community. I hope that you enjoy Sunday 4 September and our Salesian boys treat you well. Happy Father’s Day.

Wish me luck with the ‘terrible twos’!

Mark Ashmore